4 July 2002
Secretary-General Urges Dissident Forces, Liberian Government to Allow Humanitarian Access to Refugees, Internally Displaced
NEW YORK, 3 July (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Office of the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:
The Secretary-General remains profoundly concerned over the heavy toll the continuing fighting in Liberia is taking on civilians and the threat it poses to the stability of other countries in the region, particularly Sierra Leone.
Since fighting intensified last month, some 17,000 Liberians and 8,000 Sierra Leonean refugees have fled into Sierra Leone. The exact number and conditions of tens of thousands of civilians displaced within Liberia remain unknown because humanitarian agencies do not have access to conflict zones where vulnerable populations are living in extremely precarious conditions. The movement and effectiveness of humanitarian agencies are further disrupted by the harassment of humanitarian workers and looting of humanitarian organizations' assets and supplies.
The Secretary-General urges the dissident forces and the Government of Liberia to allow humanitarian workers safe and unhindered access to affected populations. He calls upon the governments of neighbouring States to cooperate in this endeavour. Further, the Secretary-General reiterates his call upon the international community to provide humanitarian agencies with the resources necessary to respond to the vital needs of the rising number of Liberians who have been displaced both within and outside their country's borders.
* *** *